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Senegal's capital is full of colonial architecture, colorful streets, frenetic markets, and pulsating nightclubs. But it has another side too. If you want to chill out, you can relax on the city's northern beaches, or find peace and quiet on the city's offshore islands.
Dakar has the museums and galleries befitting a major world capital, from the Institut Français to the African art collections at the Musée Théodore Monod.
Check out the popular bar and dance club at the Phare des Mamelles lighthouse or enjoy some Senegalese reggae at Black & White.
Visitors should not miss the Île de Gorée, a UNESCO heritage site that was once a crucial hub in the transatlantic slave trade. If you want to get away from it all, the Îles des Madeleines are the ideal place to do so.
There's no better place to buy souvenirs than the HLM Market, while Sandaga Market is the place to head for wooden carvings.
Surf at Plage de Yoff or the Plage du Virage, or find a secluded spot on the beautiful Île de N'gor.
Senegal's dry season is the time to go, between December and April. December also sees the World Festival of Black Arts swing into town, so it's a great time to visit.
Delta and South African Airways fly into Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (DKR). From there, Bus Line 8 runs into town (XOF150) and taxis will cost about XOF5,000.
From the airport, follow the Route de l'Aeroport, then proceed onto the N1, which runs into the city center. If you are coming from Thies, take the N2 while the N1 runs from Kaolack.
Buses in Senegal tend to take the form of "Sept Places" (seven seater) minibuses, which run into Dakar's Gare Routiere Pompiers.
The best accommodation options in Dakar include the beautifully furnished Radisson Blu at Dakar Sea Plaza, the seafront King Fahd Palace Hotel, and the Terrou-Bi Hotel, which offers excellent French cuisine.
Downtown Dakar - the center of town offers great attractions like the Galerie Le Manège, the Place des Tirailleurs monument to African World War One soldiers, and some lively markets.
Point E - Point E has some of the city's best music venues, including Just 4 U - a legendary reggae spot.
Yoff - sprawling over northern Dakar, Yoff is home to the airport and some of the best beaches in the area.
Single fares on the Dakar Dem Dikk bus network cost XOF150 and the system is fairly dependable.
Travelers can take "car rapides" (minibuses) for around XOF150 per journey, or conventional taxis. Fares are negotiated before traveling and usually come to around XOF1,500 per mile.
You can rent a car from branches of Hertz or ADA, and rates are often around XOF4,000 per day.
Head to HLM Market for fabrics, Sandaga Market for pretty much anything, and Marché Kermel for locally produced craft products.
Grocery stores include Score and Citydia. Expect to pay around XOF1,000 for 12 eggs.
There's great seafood to be found at Le Lagon 1 and Le Bideew, while Le Djembé is the place to head for an authentic plate of thiéboudienne (rice, vegetable, and fish stew). Meals cost around XOF5,000-15,000.